Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials

By Wheelhouse Carrie

Weelunk Contributor

With Wheeling looking in the face of another snow event, and its peak coming during tomorrow’s Super Bowl 49, a lot of us will be watching the game and the commercials.  Although we have our own Wheeling favorites, like the Marhafka Shuffle, the Health Plan Apple, and many more local favorites, let’s take the opportunity to review a few of most memorable to Friendly City viewers.

But first, count it — $4.5 million. That’s $4,500,000. For 30 seconds. $150,000 per second. That’s how much a commercial in the Super Bowl will go for this year. And, as the most heavily viewed television event of the year, advertisers know that when you have that many people potentially viewing your message, that time is worth the money.

Every year, advertisers, agencies, and production houses work together to create something memorable, something meaningful, something funny or shocking, and anything that will keep people talking around the water cooler at work the next morning. And now, in the age of interactive and immediate social media, feedback on these messages is instantaneous and impactful. The discussion starts even before the game begins with teases and lead-ups and continues through the launch. With luck, the advertiser’s message gets much more exposure than the simple airtime purchased in the big game.

Today, national brands can’t rely on a simple 30-second television commercial. They must also think in terms of #hashtags and tweets, status updates and Vines. Super Bowl commercials have also become social. Look for interactivity between products and consumers, live tweeting and updates, and social response as the game unfolds.

They will take risks. They will think big. They will attack issues and pull at heartstrings. They will use every persuasive technique in the book for you to remember their brand. And it will work.

With that in mind, as we wait in anticipation for the spots we will be talking about on Monday morning, I thought I would share what I consider the Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials of all time (to date).

Drum roll please …

10. Where’s the Beef. Wendy’s (1984).

For months, years and decades after, Wendy’s successfully had consumers asking “Where’s the Beef?”

9. Your Cheatin’ Heart. Pepsi (1996).


Loyalty to your brand, especially your soft drink, goes far beyond just whom you work for in this 1996 Pepsi commercial. Cute. Brilliant. Effective.

8. We Just Wasted $2 Million. E*Trade (2000)

Simple. Funny. To the point…E*Trade made it very clear to consumers that wasting money shouldn’t be monkey business.

7. What Your Man Could Smell Like. Old Spice (2010)

Old Spice reinvented its brand with this commercial, and the whistle has been burned into our brains. Effective? Absolutely. Sales have skyrocketed since this campaign, and somehow, some way, Old Spice is cool again.

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6. 1984. Apple. (1984).


Some would argue that this is the one that started it all. While clearly there were other Super Bowl commercials before this one, the day Apple introduced the Macintosh computer is one that will live in advertising infamy.

5. Wasssssupp. Budweiser. (1999)

Like “Where’s the Beef?” years before, Budweiser had everyone asking Wassssup?

4. Detroit. Eminem. Chrysler (2011)


Nothing brings out the pride in Americans like their cars, their freedom, and where they come from. Chrysler played upon all of those things when they launched the 300, and they did it with a style that made everyone proud those cars came from Detroit.

3. Mean Joe. Coke (1980).


Steeler fan or not, Coke won us all over when Mean Joe tossed that jersey. Classic.

2. Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. Reebok (2003).

Reebok shocked everyone at first with the surprise tackles of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. But they did more than that. They successfully steered consumers to their website to watch more of the series. Rebook was one of the first brands to recognize that taking the message online after the game meant bigger results.

1. Tribute. Budweiser (2002).

Aired only once in the Super Bowl following the 9/11 attacks, this spot, with no words, just images, this spot still is able to give chills. It’s the best spot ever because it wasn’t worried about selling beer. It wasn’t worried about clever messaging. It simply was to pay respect with class. Best. Commercial. Ever. Made.

There are plenty more that could be worth mentioning, many of them Budweiser (zebra referee, hidden beer fridges, baby horses and puppies…). Volkswagen endeared us to them when they showcased a tiny Darth Vader. Miller Lite had the ongoing debate of whether it tasted great or was less filling. The list is long and worthy of a few hours on YouTube rediscovering their greatness.

@Our_Wheelhouse will be live tweeting our thoughts on the new spots during the Super Bowl. Follow us, chat with us, and tell us your thoughts. As advertising junkies at heart, we couldn’t care less how the game plays out; we just want to see who scores big during the breaks.